The University of Birmingham launched its India Institute on 29th January, 2018, in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to UK, Chancellor Lord Karan Bilimoria, Consul General of India, Birmingham Dr. Aman Puri, Vice Chancellor Sir David Eastwood, Pro- Vice Chancellor( International) Professor Robin Mason and several well known dignitaries.
The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. There are about 64 Indian-born members of staff and over 200 Indian students currently studying undergraduate and postgraduate courses in a range of subjects. Creating the India Institute reflects the University’s extensive links with India, which span over 100 years. As Birmingham researchers continue to forge new partnerships with their Indian counterparts to address global challenges, the India Institute will provide renewed momentum and focus for achieving the same.
The event commenced with the welcome of His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to UK and Chancellor Lord Karan Bilimoria by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham Sir David Eastwood at the Vice Chancellor’s office in Aston Webb building of University of Birmingham. H.E. Mr Y.K. Sinha addressed the representatives of the educational communities from UK and India, mentioning that this Institute will provide momentum to University’s engagement with Indian Institutions. He also said “It gives me great satisfaction to note the deepening and broadening of ties between the University of Birmingham and India. I trust that, through the India Institute, the existing bonds between Indian institutions and the University will be further strengthened, and new links forged, to address local as well as global concerns through joint research and other collaborative initiatives.”He also remarked that British Universities have traditionally been high on the list of Indian students intending to study abroad and the numbers have come down over the years. From 40,000 students in 2010, it came down to 16,000 by 2016-17. He hoped that the setting up of India Institute would also contribute to correcting this anamoly, among achieving other objectives.
Professor Sir David Eastwood in his address said that “Our India Institute marks an important milestone in our long-standing relationship with India and re-affirms the University of Birmingham’s deep and strong commitment to engagement with the country. From reducing the impact of refrigerated food distribution chains, to helping make India’s cities more sustainable cities, our researchers are forging links with their counterparts that will change millions of lives for the better.”
Lord Bilimoria, Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, the Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, President of the UK Council for International Student Affairs and Founding Chairman of the UK-India Business Council, then commented “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook and there exists a special bond between Birmingham and India, which stretches back to the arrival of our first Indian student in 1909. For me, this is also a personal bond as my mother and my maternal grandfather both studied at the University of Birmingham. I am the third generation of my family to have grown up in India been educated at a British university, and it makes me very proud to see that Birmingham has put its century-long bond with India even further with the launch of the University of Birmingham India Institute. Consul General of India, Birmingham, Dr. Aman Puri also conveyed his gratitude to High Commissioner of India, Mr. Y.K. Sinha and Chancellor of the University Lord Bilimoria, who happens to be the first Indian born Chancellor of a Russel Group University for supporting this initiative which would enable better connectivity between Midlands region and various Indian Institutions both in public & private sector.
The High Commissioner then unveiled the newly formed India Institute’s commemorative plaque together with the Vice Chancellor, Sir Eastwood. The High Commissioner also presented a token of appreciation to the Vice Chancellor on this occasion. The event was attended by special invitees from India including some of the illustrous alumini of the University. They included Dr. A.Didar Singh, former Secy Govt. of India & former Sec. General FICCI, Dr. P.B. Sharma, VC of Amity University & President of Association of Indian Universities, Professor Arun Grover, VC of Punjab University, Chandigarh among others.
This was followed by a India High Level Round Table discussions, chaired by Professor Robin Mason, Pro VC International at the Senate Chamber, Aston Webb building of the University of Birmingham where the issues and concerns raised by the attendees were discussed and addressed by H.E. Mr. Y.K. Sinha and Chancellor Lord Karan Bilimoria.
The dignitaries then proceeded for a short tour of the University’s world-famous Barber Institute of Fine Arts, where H.E. Mr. Y.K. Sinha admired the collection. The Edgbaston campus’ iconic clock tower ‘Old Joe’ turned orange for the evening, as a cultural night at the Barber Institute Concert Hall presented a range of Indian arts. The cultural night began with welcome address by H.E. Mr. Y.K. Sinha, Chancellor Lord Bilimoria, Pro VC International, Prof. Robin Mason. This was followed by several cultural items including Indian classical dances, Bhangra & fusion music depicting a wonderful blend of the East & West.